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Perspectives on Distributed Computing: Thirty People, Four User Types, and the Distributed Computing User Experience

by L. Childers, L. Liming, and I. Foster Distributed Systems Laboratory Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory Computation Institute University of Chicago September 30, 2008

A U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC

Childers, Liming, Foster

Perspectives on Distributed Computing

2

Childers, Liming, Foster

Perspectives on Distributed Computing

Table of Contents 1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.......................................................................................................................... 5

2

INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................ 6

3

INTERVIEW SUMMARIES: AN INTEGRATED VIEW.................................................................... 8 3.1 3.2 3.3

4

5

GOALS ...................................................................................................................................................... 9 ISSUES .................................................................................................................................................... 11 SATISFACTION POINTS .......................................................................................................................... 13

CHARACTERIZING USERS BY THEIR INTERACTIONS WITH TECHNOLOGY ............... 14 4.1

CHARACTERIZATION METHOD ............................................................................................................. 14

4.2

TYPE 1: THE HPC SCIENTIST .......................................................................................................... 16

4.3

TYPE 2: THE HPC DOMAIN-SPECIFIC DEVELOPER........................................................................ 21

4.4

TYPE 3: THE GENERAL-PURPOSE HPC INFRASTRUCTURE PROVIDER ......................................... 33

4.5

TYPE 4: THE GENERAL-PURPOSE HPC TECHNOLOGY D EVELOPER ............................................ 42

RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................................................... 48 5.1 5.2

FOR DEVELOPERS OF DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING TECHNOLOGY ........................................................ 48 FOR FURTHER STUDY ............................................................................................................................ 53

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................................................ 55 APPENDIX A

STUDY METHODOLOGY .............................................................................................. 56

APPENDIX B

THE INTERVIEWEES...................................................................................................... 59

APPENDIX C

INTEGRATED SUMMARY DATA (FOR SECTION 3) ............................................ 62

C.1 C.2 C.3

USER GOALS ......................................................................................................................................... 62 USER ISSUES ......................................................................................................................................... 70 SATISFACTION POINTS ........................................................................................................................100

APPENDIX D

THE INTERVIEWS ...................................................